Monday, December 20, 2004

Person Of The Year

At first I was irritated by the news that George W. Bush was named Time's "Person of the Year" for 2004. Then I remembered that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Ayatollah Khomeini were previous winners. In fact, Stalin was a two-time winner just like Bush. So I guess Dubya is in good company.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Feeling Minnesota

For the past four days I've been driving a rental car with Minnesota license plates. I have been a stranger in my own state, or at least perceived as one. For instance, people pass me all the time regardless of how fast I'm driving. It's like they're just sure that idiot from Minnesota is going to slow down or do something stupid soon. Of course, I have taken advantage of that by doing stupid things (pulling over abruptly, making U-turns, etc.) and knowing that people will curse Minnesotans, not me.

Today when that woman came over the hill to find a man relieving himself by the roadside, she probably saw the license plates and commented to her passenger that Minnesotans are so ill-mannered that they piddle along the road like stray dogs. What can I say? I really had to go!

Anyway, since I picked up the car before selecting music for the trip, the Minnesota plates had a big influence on my choices. I started out with several Soul Asylum CDs, plus Dave Pirner's solo disc. Then I added Semisonic and Bob Mould. Alas, I didn't bring along any Husker Du, Trip Shakespeare, or Bob Dylan. I'll save those for a trip to Minnesota. Since this is a central and southern Illinois trip, I brought along Jason Ringenberg (frontman of cowpunk legends Jason & The Scorchers) and Uncle Tupelo.


I've also been speaking in that Northern Plains accent that I learned from my (formerly) North Dakotan relatives. But only to myself. I'd probably burst into laughter if I tried talking to anyone else that way.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Return Of King Tut

The Field Museum will be hosting another King Tut exhibit in 2006. The article in today's Chicago Tribune recalled "Tutmania" in the summer of 1977. Somehow I don't see the new exhibit being nearly as popular as the first. For one thing, it will be expensive. The Field Museum hasn't set a price, but a museum in Los Angeles will be charging $25-30 for non-members. Also, it is hard to imagine today's Americans getting excited about ancient history. Our culture is so dominated by newness and trash these days. Most people would be more interested in a reality TV show set in the pyramids of Egypt, or maybe the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, TN.

On the topic of Tutmania, I was shocked that the article didn't mention the first person I thought of when I saw the headline: Steve Martin. After all, how many historical/cultural/art exhibits have spawned a #17 hit single like "King Tut?" Of course, the second thing I thought of came nearly a decade later: the Bangles' hit "Walk Like An Egyptian." My third thought was of a friend who went to Egypt with a college archeology class--and that the instructor wanted her to be his mistress.